Chalcolithic or Eneolithic period marks the use of the metals among which the Copper was first.
Chalcolithic means use of copper and stone.
Copper was probably the first metal used by humans and the period of Copper Age was from 1800-800 BC.
Thus, chalcolithic period was transition between Stone Age and metal age.
This was the period in which stone tools were losing their significance and copper tools were finding grounds.
The earliest settlements belonging to the Chalcolithic Phase are extended from the Chhotanagpur plateau to the copper Gangetic basin.
Some sites are found at Brahmagiri near Mysore and Navada Toli on the Narmada.
The people of the Chalcolithic age subsisted on farming and hunting-fishing.
Cattle, sheep, goat buffalo and pig were reared. Thereafter, they were killed for food.
Crops like barley and wheat were cultivated. Other crops that were cultivated are bajra, jowar, millets, ragi, green peas, lentil, green gram and black gram.
Hunting was one of the important occupations.
Wheel- made fine pottery is considered as the specialty of the Chalcolithic culture. Most of these used to be of red and orange color.
The presence of painted pottery is a hall mark of the Chalcolithic period
The burial practice was another striking feature and the dead were buried in a particular direction all over a particular area.
Some important Chalcolithic cultures of India are as follows:
- AHARA-BANAS CULTURE
The sites of Ahar-Banas Culture were Aahar, balathal, Gilund etc in the vicinity of Banas river in Rajasthan. The distinctive feature is black and red ware.
2. KAYATHA CULTURE
Located in Rajasthan near Chambal and its tributaries, the sturdy red slipped ware with chocolate designs is main feature.
3. MALWA CULTURE
Narmada & its tributaries in Gujarat. One of the largest Chalcolithic settlements. The largest site of the Chalcolithic period is Diamabad situated on the left bank of the Pravara River. Major sites of Malwa Cultureinclude Daimabad, Inamgaon, Kayatha, Nagda, Vidisha, Eran, Mandsaur, and Navdatoli (near Maheshwar). A massive fortification wall and a moat have been discovered at Eran.
4. SVALDA CULTURE
The well-known sites are in Dhulia district of Maharashtra.
5. PRABHAS & RANGPUR CULTURE
Both of them are derived from the Harappa culture. The polished red ware is the hall mark of this culture.
6. JORWE CULTURE
Jorwe is a village and an archaeological site located on the banks of the Godavari River in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. This site was first was excavated in 1950-51 under the direction of Hasmukh Dhirajlal Sankalia and Shantaram Bhalchandra Deo.
Chalcolithic sites belonging to the Jorwe culture (ca. 1300–700 BCE) have been discovered throughout Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and other states. The key features of this culture include red pottery, generally with matt surface bearing paintings in black.